Presentation of the Lord
Nanko-Fernandez and four of her colleagues -- Melissa Maday, assistant to CTU's vice president; Gilberto Cavazos-Gonzalez, a professor of spirituality, director of Hispanic ministry and a Franciscan priest; Robin Ryan, a systematic theology professor and Passionist priest, and Thomas Nairn, a Franciscan priest and professor of Catholic ethics -- joined me this week to play a spirited (pun intended) round of Vatican: The Papal Election Board Game.
The Vatican game, released last week by the College of DuPage Press, is something of a hybrid of Monopoly, Risk and Clue -- with a bit of theological Chutes-and-Ladders thrown in for good measure.
Authored by Stephen Haliczer, a retired historian from Northern Illinois University who specializes in Catholic history (the Inquisition in particular), the game follows six cardinals through their early careers as they build their reputations, the death of a pope, and the conclave to elect his successor.
But then ... divine intervention brought the conclave proceedings and what had become a rather boisterous game, to an abrupt halt, when Nairn (who had been trailing with 63 votes) read his fifth conclave card:
"The Holy Spirit intervenes in your favor by appearing to certain cardinals who have been wavering in their support for you. +40 votes."
With 103 votes, Nairn, as the Jesuit cardinal from Panama, became heir to the throne of St. Peter.
"I just want you all to know that the rightful pope was unseated by a pigeon!" would-be Pope Carmen shouted in faux disgust.
That's when she remembered her hat.
'Intervention of the Spirit'
The baseball cap Nanko-Fernandez brought to the table, the one with the P for "pope" on it, was a Team Panama hat from the World Baseball Classic.
"It's always the intervention of the Spirit," Cavazos-Gonzalez said.
They say God moves in mysterious ways. I suppose that includes baseball hats and board games, too.